GYO & BYO: Grow Your Own & Blitz Your Own
Green smoothies are packed with leafy greens that offer a range of health benefits, including being full of antioxidants and vitamins, boosting your immune system and helping to improve digestion.
Many of the most popular ingredients of healthy green smoothies are vegetables and herbs that can be grown simply at home. Growing your own is an easy and enjoyable way to save money and be even healthier, as fresh produce picked straight from the garden contains the maximum level of vitamins and minerals.
Even if you are short of space you can enjoy growing, from an allotment down to simply a windowsill, and reap the rewards. Let’s take a look at what you can grow and throw straight in your blender to make a fantastic green smoothie.
Kale is high in nutrients, fibre and vitamins but low in calories. It has well-documented health benefits and is classed as a premier superfood. Its curly and colourful leaves can be cropped year-round and easily put in a blender and juiced. Kale can be sown from March to June, either in the ground or in pots, and if leaves are clipped often it will encourage new growth to allow for longer cropping.
Spinach offers high levels of vitamins, iron, calcium and antioxidants, giving a boost to your energy and vitality. It is very easy-to-grow in the garden or in a container and can provide healthy leaves from spring all the way through to autumn. Sow spinach seeds from March to July and successional sowings will allow longer cropping. Pick leaves as required, making sure to take only a few from each plant. By cutting leaves regularly, the plants will repay you by continuing to produce more.
Cucumber has multiple B vitamins, offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and is rich in water and fibre to aid digestion. They are prolific plants and will offer lots of fruit throughout the summer to pick regularly. Cucumbers come in either greenhouse or outdoor varieties and the seeds should be sown in spring indoors (they can be transplanted outside later) or can be direct sown in May or June. Picking small fruits regularly once they appear should ensure a long bountiful harvest of fresh cucumbers for your blender.
Swiss Chard is packed full of nutrients and a source of vitamins K, A, and C, as well magnesium, potassium, iron, and fibre. It is also colourful and very easy to grow, either in the ground or in a container. The seeds can be direct sown from March all the way through to August, with late sowings giving leaves right into the winter. Harvest baby leaves and this will encourage more leaf production.
Herbs can also be used to add a flavour kick and further boost the nutritional value. They are full of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients that fight toxins and help boost the immune system. The likes of mint, coriander and parsley offer their own health benefits and can be easily grown in pots on a windowsill for regular cuttings. Simply sow the seeds in spring, put them on a bright windowsill to grow, and harvest as required for your smoothies.
Other simple ideas for veg to grow at home for your smoothies include lettuce, collard greens, beetroot or carrots. Whatever space you have, there are options to grow. I’m a perennial nerd and really recommend that everyone has a go at reaping the benefits of growing your own.
Grow your own varied and nutrient rich brassicas, broccoli, and leafy greens with our top tips and growers’ guides, all in one place at our brassica hub page.
My name is Drew and I am a former journalist turned professional gardener and garden blogger. I have worked for the National Trust at Hidcote Manor Garden and most recently as an organic grower and gardener. I am passionate about plants and GYO, while I continually strive to improve my knowledge and skills and visit as many gardens as I can. My musings can be regularly seen on my blog ‘Perennial Nerd’.